patio as drainage area?

sunshine45(5)June 22, 2010

Hi all, I'm trying to help my dad at his lakeside cottage.

He is thinking about putting in a patio at the base of his deck where an above ground pool used to be.

I thought the easiest and cheapest option would be to use pea gravel in between very large concrete pavers. Now that I've read some comments in the forum, the gravel idea seems like a weeding and cleanup hassle. Is it? Plus I've now read that pea gravel is the wrong kind of thing to use between pavers. . .

In the spring and after rains, the area is wet (hill/mountain behind the house), but that's partly because the pool indentation still exists. The pool was installed on sand, btw, so even though the soil is generally heavy clay, there is some sand in the intended patio area.

His idea is to dig down and put a twelve inch layer of gravel for the water to filter into, then some landscape fabric with additional gravel and the pavers. This way the water that comes to the area will have someplace to go.

But if we have to compact the gravel into place to provide a good base, how will water percolate down into the deep gravel?

Would it be better to make French drains or rain gardens all around the patio area? Or just throw down the concrete pavers and observe what happens with the water for a year or two before we get in over our heads?

The purpose of the patio is simply to provide a place for the second set of deck steps to exit onto. There are some plantings around the area that were there when the pool existed and it could be a sort of lovely secret garden type thing, but most people using the area would want to pass through it to get closer to the lake. I have a feeling that if we just planted grass, it will be wet and buggy there all the time. We'd definitely have to bring in some fill to do it, which might screw up drainage even more than a patio would.

This would be a DIY thing, just me and him. Will try to find current pics. Thanks in advance.

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The method your dad's describing is pretty standard for a permeable paver patio. You use a 3/4" clean gravel for the base, and then a 3/8" chip gravel (not rounded or peastone) for the bedding layer. You'll want to use pavers designed for this type of application, though- Techo-Bloc has one called Permea. The reason you can't use a standard paver is because you need a paver where the joint is wide enough to take the 3/8" stone while still interlocking with the other pavers. A sand joint won't work for obvious reasons.

As for water draining through, that's why you use clean stone. Think of a bowl of popcorn- even with all those big pieces, the voids are big enough to allow the unpopped kernels to pass through.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 8:38PM
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